Since its formation in 1983, Chuck Schuldiner was the creative center of the influential heavy metal band, Death. Combining strong songwriting with powerful, brutally delivered lyrics, the band was anything if not extreme. Seeking a project a little closer to his classic metal roots, in 1996 Schuldiner assembled Control Denied, a band which borrowed most of Death's personnel and added the strong and clear vocals of Tim Aymar. Aymar had provided vocals for a string of successful metal bands, including Psycho Scream and he suited the more melodic approach that Schuldiner was looking for. To Schuldiner, Control Denied part of a vision -- he acted much like a director or coach in bringing that vision to fruition. He maintained tight creative control, yet allowed the creative talents of musicians like Aymar and bassist Steve DiGiorgio to shine through. The project produced one album, The Fragile Art of Existence, in 1999, issued by Nuclear Blast America before Schuldiner began experiencing pain in his neck and shoulder -- after consulting a chiropractor and acupuncturist, he got an MRI which revealed a cancerous tumor on his brain stem. In the autumn of 1999 he began intensive radiation therapy, which did succeed in breaking apart the tumor, but both Control Denied and Death were on infinite hiatus until he regained his health.